Yesterday, I reported that Hamas fighters had captured 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin in a Gaza ambush. I also reported that Hamas said it had lost contact with the team that captured Goldin and that the team and Goldin were presumed dead. My Israeli source revealed that the IDF survivors of the ambush had shot both Goldin and the Palestinian who tried to drag his wounded body away. The Hannibal Directive had been invoked, meaning the army used every means at its disposal, including murder, to prevent the taking of its soldiers.
Today, Walla confirmed via the IDF that Goldin is dead. At first the army only admitted it knew this based on “DNA evidence.” But I believed it had his body. This was confirmed by this subsequent Ynet report that it did have his body and that his funeral would be tomorrow. It is critical that there be an autopsy to determine the cause of his death. But I don’t believe the IDF will allow it because it knows what it will find.
In the hours following his capture, the IDF bombarded Rafah with heavy artillery and from the air in order to both take vengeance for the ambush which killed two senior officers; and to kill Goldin. Over 60 Gazans died. Though the IDF conceded Godin is dead. But it did not concede that it killed him and did so deliberately. That is why the army censor warned the Times about its reporting. Here is how the Times public editor reported it today:
“After the initial publication of this article, the military’s censor informed The New York Times that further information related to Lieutenant Goldin would have to be submitted for prior review. Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel. This was the first censorship notification The Times had received in more than six years.”
I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the IDF does not want a major foreign media outlet to report that it killed its own. This passage too in the Times report would become terribly inconvenient when Goldin’s killing becomes better known:
His father, Simcha Goldin, said the family was confident the Israeli military would “not stop under any circumstances until they have turned over every stone in Gaza and have brought Hadar home healthy and whole.”
This passage in the NY Times report may’ve also gotten perilously close to the heart of the matter:
Daniel Nisman, a former combat soldier who now runs a Tel Aviv geopolitical security company, said Israeli troops are taught that preventing an abduction is the highest priority, even if it means risking a captive soldier’s life by firing at a getaway vehicle. Protocol changed after Sergeant Shalit’s capture, Mr. Nisman said, “so a low-level commander on the ground can act” without awaiting orders, which had delayed action in that case.
“It’s to prevent a strategic setback that would ultimately impact the entire county [sic],” he explained. “It sounds terrible, but you have to consider it within the framework of the Shalit deal. That was five years of torment for this country, where every newscast would end with how many days Shalit had been in captivity. It’s like a wound that just never heals.”
Jodi Rudoren has tweeted in reply to my headline that the IDF censor did not warn her away from reporting that the IDF killed Hadar Goldin. She says they warned her not to publish a specific biographical detail about Goldin. Though Rudoren didn’t say what the detail was, Ynet has preceded her and spilled the beans (in English). The IDF claims that the grandfather of defense minister Bogie Yaalon and great-grandmother of Hadar Goldin were siblings. Yaalon, according to the story, recognized Goldin’s father, Simcha and had known him since childhood. The minister had known Goldin as well since childhood. Somehow (and don’t ask me how) the censor claims that this fact might allow Hamas to exploit it. For this reason, the censor demands the Times submit all future stories about Goldin to it prior to publication.
But a wiser and more candid source tells me that this is a hoax. He was told by a military source:
“Of course it’s an excuse, and the real reason is Hannibal. I, like most Israelis and probably like Goldin himself, don’t even know the name of my father’s grandma!”
In order to prevent national torment and potentially weakening to the demands of the enemy, the IDF has made a decision to sacrifice the individual life for the sake of the nation. Such moral bargains are not ones into which the censor wants the NY Times to delve. Such reporting might exert pressure on the IDF against killing its captured soldiers. This is a debate it does not want. Democracy and a transparent press are luxuries the IDF cannot afford in wartime (and even in peacetime). Keep in mind that this means the IDF does not want any more Gilad Shalits. If Hannibal had been implemented in his case he’d be dead too. Think about that. The IDF wants nothing but dead Gilad Shalits.
This is not the first murder of an IDF soldier. In fact, it’s the second (Sgt. Guy Levy) of this conflict. And another soldier was killed under Hannibal during Operation Cast Lead. The IDF does not want either Israel or the world to debate this heinous, immoral military regulation. But I want to state this as clearly and directly as possible: Hannibal is murder. It is murder under extenuating circumstances, but it is murder. Which is why my reporting of this has been so relentless. No other Israeli politician, general or journalist is speaking the truth about this. If they won’t, I must.
The NY Times is continuing an ideologically loaded terminology regarding Hamas attacks. Soldiers, who are military combatants are “captured.” Civilians, not involved in combat, may be kinapped as part of conflict. Soldiers may not be. Yet Jodi Rudoren, the IDF’s steady stenographer, repeats the IDF meme here:
Israeli fears about kidnapping have been palpable since Hamas fighters used a tunnel under the border to enter Israeli territory near a kibbutz…
This is an entirely unacceptable usage. The Times does not say that the IDF “kidnaps” Palestinians arrested by the IDF in the West Bank, and these are civilians. It says they were arrested. But they are arrested under no legal authority. Hence they should by rights, use the term “kidnapped.”
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.